He just couldn't stop at a Top Ten. Sydney film critic and cool funk DJ Bryn Tilly declares his top twelve film scores, EVER ...
This selection is made up of original motion picture scores, rather than soundtracks compiled of previously available songs, with the exception of Cliff Martinez’s Drive, of which five similarly styled songs by other artists are also included.
For me these twelve soundtracks perfectly capture the mood, tone, and atmosphere of their respective movie. They reflect my preference for a minimal approach to film music.
Star Wars ~ John Williams (1977)
Operatic, dynamic, evocative, and undeniably classic. So many memorable character themes. Stand-out pieces: Imperial March and Cantina Band.
Diva ~ Vladimir Cosma (1981)
Eastern-flavoured, experimental, haunting, melancholic. A “new wave” mood for a “new wave” movie. Stand-out pieces: Sentimental Walk and La Wally.
Blade Runner ~ Vangelis (1982)
My personal favourite. Dreamy, ethereal, drenched in a future nostalgia. Never has electronic music sounded so organic. Stand-out pieces: Blade Runner Blues and Tears in Rain.
Cat People – Giorgio Moroder (1982)
Creepy, undulating, sensual, scary. Moroder might be better known for his Euro disco, but he nails the erotic-horror! Stand-out pieces: Irena’s Theme and The Myth.
Paris, Texas ~ Ry Cooder (1984)
Cool, calm and collected, like a balmy breeze across a desert porch, this twangs in sparse harmony. Stand-out pieces Paris, Texas and I Knew These People.
Betty Blue ~ Gabriel Yared (1986)
Another personal favourite. Numerous variations on a few key themes. Drink café au lait from a bowl, eat hot chile in the sweltering heat, throw back tequila slammers, and make love like there’s no tomorrow. Stand-out pieces: Le Petit Nicolas and C’est Le Vent, Betty.
Orlando – David Motion with Sally Potter (1992)
Brooding and peculiar, strangely compelling, utterly seductive. Stand-out pieces: The Kiss and On the Road.
Three Colours White ~ Zibigniew Presnier (1993)
There’s a wonderful chill in the air. There’s drama, there’s sorrow, there’s love, there’s grief. It’s a beautiful thing. Stand-out pieces: The Beginning and The End.
Dead Man – Neil Young (1995)
Raw, primal, damaged, majestic; the grungy distorted electric guitar work plows like a steam train through a dense frontier fog. Stand-out pieces: Guitar Solo, No. 1 and Guitar Solo, No. 5
American Beauty – Thomas Newman (1999)
Newman has a gift. I love many of his movie soundtracks (and his television theme work), but he delivered superb work indeed for this modern classic. Stand-out pieces: Dead Already and American Beauty
Monsters ~ Jon Hopkins (2010)
Like Cliff Martinez (in particular sex, lies and videotape, which almost made this list), Hopkins knows a delicate, melodic, yet restrained approach, full of subtle nuance and powerful ambience works wonders. Stand-out pieces: Campfire and Monsters Theme.
Drive – Cliff Martinez (2011)
Stunning retro-electro-flavoured pop and sumptuous suspenseful ambience to the movie of the year. Stand-out pieces: Nightcall and Bride of Deluxe.
Film reviewer Bryn Tilly is a Sydney DJ, scriptwriter and composer and writes the blogs Horrorphile and Bruno Dante's Cult Projections.